Preventative » Gum Disease
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is described as swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis means 'inflammation of the gums'. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.
What is periodontal disease?
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is mostly caused by poor oral hygiene that allows bacteria in plaque and calculus to remain on the teeth and infect the gums. But there are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Some of the most common risk factors are as follows:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco or Paan prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
- Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis.
- Some medical conditions like Cancer or Diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease.
- Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque.
- Medications such as antiseizure medications promote gum disease.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on your toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease does not usually cause pain as it gets worse so you do not notice the damage it is doing. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost.
What do I do if I think I have gum disease?
The first thing to do is visit your dental team for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. They will check for any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you. The dentist will also remove all plaque and tartar from your teeth.
Is there a cure for periodontal disease?
There is no cure for periodontal disease, but it can be controlled as long as you adopt good oral hygiene practices by brushing your teeth twice a day, cleaning in between the teeth with ‘interdental' brushes or floss and visiting your dentist regularly. This may prevent or slow down any further loss of bone and it may stop altogether.